Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

What's Your 2016 Wine of the Year?

Posted by Richard Foxall, Dec 9, 2016.

Okay, we're counting down to the end of the year.  With three drinking weeks left, start nominating your wines of the year.  And, if you like, nominate a wine experience of the year. 

I'm going to have to think about the WOTY for a while, and I'll update this OP as things occur to me, but I'm going to say it wasn't a year full of head turning wines or really new wines for me.  Two candidates that occur to me right now are that 2006 Serio e Battista Borgogno Cannubi Barolo Riserva that JD and I had when he was up for his birthday, and the 1998 Fontanafredda Paiagallo. If I nominated a third wine, it would probably be the Canatlupo Ghemme.  So, yeah, all Nebbiolo from Piemonte. 

My wine experience of the year would be the trip I took to Paso in August when I met with Steve Peck at J. Lohr one day and Josh Jensen at Calera the next.  Different markets, but both generous, talented, committed wine makers doing their jobs with integrity and vision. 

Let's show the big magazines what actual wine drinkers think.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 9, 2016.

I think theyre both burgs for me this year.

1982 Viard Freres Vosne Romanee 1er: Posted about this one elsewhere. Was in slightly in to its decline but what was there was incredibly complex and refined. Very instructive to me on how Burgundy can age. Runner up: 1966 Faiveley Clos de Beze.

2007 Sauzet Batard Montrachet - Incredibly pure Chardonnay with enough back bone to make it complete. Paired with a perfect Langostino dish, it was one of those epic wine moments.

Reply by EMark, Dec 9, 2016.

Well, these two immediately come to mind.  As I think about it a bit more, additioanl candidates may pop up.

I had this one just a couple weeks ago:


I had this one on our cruise in October:


The cruise was a fun wine experience.  It included a couple wines that would have to be described as WOTY honorable mentions:

  • 2013 Ridge Lytton Springs
  • 2012 Tignanello

The Myriad was from my stash.  The LS and the Tig were from the ship's winelist.

Another fun wine experience was tasting Apsara wines with owner/winemaker Robin Akhurst and fellow Snoothers, Foxall and Outthere.  Mrs. EMark really enjoyed that.


Also, there are still a few weeks to go in 2016.  So, the polls will remain open.

Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 9, 2016.

Here are my WOTYs USA. This red and white are both California wines.

Red - 2008 Scherrer Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard. Here's part of my CT tasting note - It's difficult to describe all the layers of flavors, ripe red and black cherry, blackberry, tar, a bit of smoke, fine grained tannins, juicy acidity, a finish that went on forever.

White - 2012 Failla Chardonnay Chuy Vineyard - This is bottled pleasure! On the nose it's lemon cream pie with coconut shavings. There's a touch of new oak on the tongue but not too much. This is nicely balanced with lemon pith, a hint of vanilla, creamy texture, very nice acidity and a fairly long finish.

Without a doubt, the wine experience of the year was our trip to Alsace. We drank white wine all week and never got tired of it, even with all of that heavy German influenced food.

Overall WOTY would have to be the Domaine Weinbach Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Vineyard (photo borrowed from the Vineyard Brands website). The next pic is mine, just not the GC.

Reply by rckr1951, Dec 9, 2016.

My red would be the '03 Quinta Noval LBV Porto.  Stunning wines with years left in the tank.  Rich dark fruit, cocao, earthiness, ballsy yet elegant. The perfect foil to double dark chocolate/dark cherry fudge brownies and real French vanilla ice cream on the side both drizzled with juice. Drool.

I'm gonna think awhile before I name a white - hard to remember a truly large (read - stnner) that I was privy to. 

Reply by GregT, Dec 10, 2016.

Some of these would probably be in the running:


Reply by Ivesreeves, Dec 10, 2016.

GREGT-  Great call on the Dalmau Rioja.  It would certainly be one of my finalists too.  I was introduced to it much earlier in the year, at a St. Patrick's Day party as I recall, but the memory of it lingers on, much like the fabulous finish of that wine. One of the most raisin-forward noses I've ever encountered, but so pleasant as it gives way to a complex and tannic finish of very Ghiardellian dark chocolate, mocha and a perceptible nut quality. Here's a wholehearted second of your nomination!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 10, 2016.

I've been seeing the Continos on K&L but I know nothing about them.  Sounds like another Rioja to check out.  I'm going to drink a Cune before the end of the year, so maybe it will crack the list.  Good start, GregT. 

Paul, that's a 2003, right?  I'm guessing that a 1903 would still have quite a bit in the tank.  It's what makes Port so cool.

Reply by rckr1951, Dec 10, 2016.

Richard - That's correct.  Absolutely a great bottle of wine.

Reply by duncan 906, Dec 11, 2016.

I have drunk and reveiwed for Snooth over 80 bottles of wine during 2016 so far.but I only awarded 5 Snooth glasses to three although a nunber of others got 4 and a half glasses. The three were;-

Chateau Leoville Poyferre Saint Julien 2001

Domaine du Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Pais 2014

Bernard Faurie Hermitage Bessards/Meal 2009.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 11, 2016.

Definitely my 2016 Pinot Noir of the year, probably favorite domestic wine of 16' crafted by none other than Mike Smith. Had honestly written off the Ancillary project as likely to be more over ripe, cola'd Pinot's entering the market, but there's that saying "don't knock it til' you try it", and that proved to be the case here. Knowing that Mike likes his burgs, it all makes sense. 

Where this succeeds is with the bold, tasty dark fruit, balanced with good medium acidity, and what you really need to stand up to CA fruit, medium plus oak. The tension between the fruit and oak makes the wine interesting, and the quality of each component is noticeable. Then there is a good spice note to the wine, and most importantly perhaps, there is very little to no heat and cola. Most all domestic PN is ruined by heat and overt cola notes alone, and this avoids those pitfalls impressively. Looking forward to many more of these, hopefully over the years. This is the kind of Pinot I crave, when I want a bolder PN to drink by itself and/or with hearty appetizers.

Reply by EMark, Dec 11, 2016.

Thank you for the interesting report, JD.

Most Forum regulars know about my nonchalance regarding Pinot Noir bottlings, but, as I mentioned to OT, recently, I do like to keep my hand in the game.  I find reports like this to be very helpful.

Reply by outthere, Dec 11, 2016.

Yeah JD, that '14 Sun Chase is a tasty drink. It brings it without overwhelming. Glad to see you enkoying it so much. I'll save one for next time we see each other.

I have a number of contenders for WOTY broken down into categories. Still a couple three quality weeks left in this year so I'll hold off judgement until the New Years Eve fog clears.

My short list contains:

  • 2012 Ultramarine Brut Rosé
  • 2015 Belharra Rosé
  • 2013 Sandlands Chenin Blanc
  • 2011 Roulout Les Vireuils
  • 2007 Roumier Chambolle-Musigny
  • 2010 Scherrer Hallberg PN
  • 2015 Wilson Foreigner Valdiguié
  • 2010 Gilardi Terra di Lavoro
  • 2013 Myriad Dr Crane Elysian 
  • 2014 Carter Cellars Three Kings BTK
Reply by bostonlobsterman, Dec 11, 2016.

2005 Santenay consumed at the vineyard. 

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 12, 2016.

Yeah OT, I'm curious to try the full lineup now, which is a nice and compact 4 wines with the Chardonnay. 2014 seems better than 13', how do 15' and 16' vintages look to you? I realize there is some guess work, especially with 16'

Reply by GregT, Dec 12, 2016.

Vino - that Failla Chardonnay is good wine. He did some Syrah too and it was damned good. Haven't had either recently though.

Fox - the Contino is a project of CVNE. Like all the old houses, CVNE used to buy grapes from many small local growers. Much like the houses in Champagne do. In the 1970s, they decided to make an estate wine from their own grapes. That is Contino. The winemaker is a friend - he's also from the founding family, and his father was the winemaker before him. Later they decided to make a single vineyard wine. It's called Viña del Olivo because in the center of that vineyard there's a 700 year old olive tree. It's a nice vineyard, with the Sierra Cantabria mountains off in the distance. He also was pretty much the pioneer in getting the Graciano bottled on its own. It was always a minor blending grape but he doggedly put out monovarietal bottlings and these days there are a few people doing that. When you're in the mood for something Tuscan, try one of those if you can. It's a grape with a lot of acidity, perhaps reminiscent of Sangiovese.

The 1982 Contino GR remains one of the best wines I've ever had in my life - I've had it at the 25 year mark side by side with some Second Growth Bordeaux and Vega Sicilia from the same great vintage and it was just stunning.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 12, 2016.

Contino is another name I wasn't familiar with.

VV, it's about time I try some Failla!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 12, 2016.

OT is showing off with that Ultramarine, because no one can get it now.  Funny how much imported sand showed up on his beach this year. 

GregT, thanks for the info on Contino.  I have had monovarietal Gracianos on occasion.  K&L imported one that was really inexpensive and tasty, and Pierce Family in southern Monterey County makes one.  Oz Clarke thinks it is the best grape of Rioja; he attributes its uneven yields and the fact that the second best grape, Tempranillo is so good, to the fact that Graciano didn't really catch on. 

Dunc, thanks for the view from the other side of the pond. 

I don't know if it's going to make my short list, but I had a pretty terrific 2011 Arnot Roberts Griffins Lair Syrah last night.  Oddly, I haven't been drinking a lot of Syrah this year, been hoarding my Myriads, Halcons, Apsaras and the smattering of N. Rhones I can still lay down.  This was probably the best Syrah I've had in a while. 

Reply by GregT, Dec 12, 2016.

Oz clark is a minority of one! Even Jesus, who makes Contino and has championed Graciano his whole life and who probably makes the best on in Rioja, doesn't think it's the best grape of Rioja. That would be like suggesting that Petite Verdot is the best grape of Bordeaux!

Graciano is however, what some people consider key to the longevity of the Rioja wines because it provides the acidity that Tempranillo lacks.

Come to think of it, I've had some pretty good Syrah this year. In fact, I think I'll have one tonight. Two that I wasn't familiar with but have become extremely fond of are Martinelli and Meyer Family. They both manage to get that meaty, savory quality that is characteristic of a good Syrah and that a lot of others don't seem to find. Those and Halcon are my recent finds, Halcon thanks to OT. I'm a huge fan. Don't have any left though. Drank them fast.

Reply by EMark, Dec 12, 2016.

Don't have any left though. Drank them fast.

Excellent, clear-thinking philosophy.

Reply by DNath991, Dec 12, 2016.

Man, definitely a lot of new bottles to try thanks to this list. I'm really curious about the Ancillary Cellars Pinot Noir that JONDERRY posted.

For me, wine of t he year goes to this 2014 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee. A really well balanced blend with an accelerating finish.


Another worth mentioning is this Juan Gil Jumilla red. I've loved just about everything I've had from the Jumilla region, and this one immediately made it into the weekly rotation.

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